New York Daily News columnist Liz Smith puts aside the celebrity sweepstakes for this queen-sized hodgepodge on the maternal arts: lightly organized anecdotes, running the gamut from Choice to Flat, which recall mothers from Eve to Moms Mabley and Ma Bell. We're partial to an old Nichols and May bit, in the Mothers and Guilt section, featuring a busy scientist and his mother who missed her Friday phone call (""I was sending up Vanguard. I didn't have a second."" ""Well, it's always something, isn't it?"") and to Groucho, ever superior, ribbing a Catholic priest whose mother was a big fan: ""Oh, really? I didn't know you fellows were allowed to have mothers."" Also, a lode of Jewish mothers and their numerous ethnic variants, stage mothers, grandmothers, liberated mothers, in-laws and outlaws, Mothers and Death or Gaiety or Sex, spooning out love (Ambrose Bierce on Killer Custard) or dispensing what is generously referred to as ""Roseshit."" Much of this is light and airy, but that Newspaper shorthand takes its toll, reducing Jane Addams to ""the spinster social worker"" and Sacajawea and Marie Curie to a list of ""Twelve Extraordinary Working Mothers of the Past."" To be published just in time for Mother's Day.